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(CNN) – The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is so vast, and the facts are so few – is it any wonder that this monster void is filled with every possible theory? From plausible to outlandish?
"A lot of conspiracy theories are wrong, but that doesn't mean all of them are wrong. Could be that one of them in this case actually is right. We just don't know yet," said The New Yorker contributor and NYU psychology professor Gary Marcus.
This most desperate need for resolution comes from the most disastrous of events, the kind that must have an explanation outside of indiscriminate fate or a lone gunman.
Conspiracy theories still swirl around the Kennedy assassination, the death of Princess Diana, and even crashes like TWA 800, even though those events had images, sounds, witnesses, and exhaustive investigations.
With no concrete clues to the missing Malaysia plane, imaginations can run even wilder.
"One of the risks of the internet age is that our natural tendency to believe our own ideas and ignore other peoples ideas gets exacerbated. Because it's too easy to go to a website that supports your own theory, and not go to a website that councils for the other theory," said Marcus.
And in the age of social media, one man's musing can become viral in an instant. Especially when it comes from an authority figure, like the Malaysian politician who tweeted that the flight may have vanished into a new Bermuda Triangle. Others were quick to echo, and even map the bizarre idea.
A local police chief floated the idea that this could all be part of an elaborate life insurance scam.
"There may be somebody on the flight who bought a large amount of insurance who may want someone to benefit from it," said Malaysia's inspector general of police Khalid Abu Bakar.
Then there's the theory that the flight could have been spirited to North Korea – it had enough fuel, people were saying on Reddit.
And hiding it? Easy with the stealth technology of military invisibility cloaks.
"A lot of our theorizing in general is influenced by something called motivated reasoning, which means that we look for things that makes us happy," said Marcus. "When in reality that's not very likely," said Marcus.
On Thursday a shaman known as "King of the Witch Doctors" performed rituals at the Kuala Lumpur airport, chanting and praying for guidance on the flight's whereabouts, and the 239 on board.
Or we could all just go with Occam's razor, the belief that the simpler theory, is usually the most accurate. If only we had one.
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The Lead with Jake Tapper draws not only on Tapper’s deep knowledge of politics and national issues, but also seeks to examine and advance stories across a wide range of topics that demonstrate his own curiosities and interests. Compelling headlines come from around the country and the globe, from politics to money, sports to popular culture, based on news drivers of the day.
The Lead with Jake Tapper airs weekdays at 4 p.m. ET.
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